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Democrats Drop Opposition To Funding For State-Related Colleges

Temple University

Temple University

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – A day after it began, legislative Democrats — unhappy about the budget process — have now dropped their blockade of bills to fund Temple, Lincoln and two other state-related universities, as budget legislation continues to advance in the state capitol.

Democrats don’t have the numbers to block the main budget bills, but bills that fund Temple, Lincoln, Pitt and Penn State require a two-thirds super majority to pass. After refusing to put up votes for the state-related universities Monday, Democrats changed course on Tuesday.

Philadelphia’s Vincent Hughes, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he and other members of the minority wanted information about certain aspects of the budget, including the fiscal code and welfare code. “The devil sometimes exists in the details,” Hughes said. “Those particular items have significant detail. We got the information that we got – now we’re prepared to go forward.”

But a spokesman for the Senate Republican leaders says Democrats got no information any faster by staging their boycott.

Meanwhile, the Senate Tuesday passed the main budget bill and sent it back to the House. Chester Republican Dominic Pileggi, the Senate majority leader, said the budget restores some of the cuts Governor Corbett proposed to close a multi-billion dollar deficit, “House Bill 1485 increases basic education funding by $268 million, and higher education funding by $368 million, compared to the governor’s March 8th budget proposal.”

But Senate Democrats complained bitterly that more cuts could be restored if Republicans had agreed to spend more of the surplus being recorded in the current fiscal year.

Reported by KYW Harrisburg Bureau Chief Tony Romeo

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